Passion Fruit: Health Benefits and Nutritional Values

Fruits are the natural foods that are packed with all powerful nutrients essential for the health and human body functions. Different fruits have different vital nutrient levels and unique qualities depending on various factors of mode of cultivation, region and climatic conditions. Passion fruit is a fruit that is grown in tropical and sub tropical regions. Its origin is believed to be in the Latin American regions including Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay and northern Argentina. It belongs to the Vine or P.edulis species and classified in family of Passifloraceae in the genus passilflora. The fruit has yellowish golden, orange or purple outer skin and juicy jelly inner flesh with numerous seeds. The purple variety is less acidic and juicy than the golden variety. The yellow variety is more nutritious and contains alpha carotene than the purple variety and it is consumed mainly in the juicy form. The fruit could be consumed either raw or in juicy form. Today many passion fruit varieties are available in various cuisines. Passion fruit dishes are produced on commercial basis different countries. Canned passion fruit juices, deserts, jellies, creams and jams are available today. Passion fruit syrup is one of the most popular used desert flavoring and toppings used in cold soft deserts. In Mexico it is also used as a spicy dish consumed with chilli powder or raw chillies. Though it is used as flavoring the sourness of the fruit makes it used along with other sweetening agents like sugar, honey and artificial sweeteners. Apart form the culinary uses the fruits bears several health benefits. Though it is rich in all vital nutrients the sourness of the fruit does not make it a popular fruit when compared to other variety of fruits. Keeping aside the taste or the sour flavor there are several researches and studies have been conducted on the qualities of this fruit. The researches conducted by the USDA nutrient data base provide interesting vital information regarding the qualities of this fruit.

According to the USDA an average fruit contains instant energy level of 97 calories. It is enriched with carbo hydrates, sugars and dietary fiber. The fat and protein content is nominal in this fruit. It is enriched with wide range of vitamins including Vitamin A, beta carotene, riboflavin or vitamin B2, niacin or vitamin B3, vitamin B6, folate or vitamin B9, choline, vitamin C and K. The mineral content includes iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, sodium and Zinc.

The raw passion fruit provides health benefits that help to prevent various ailments. It is widely used in the summer season as an excellent coolant reducing the burning sensation of stomach and gives relaxation to the nervous system. The dietary fiber and antioxidants improves the intestinal health and digestion process. Many diseases related to the stomach including hyperacidity, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, gastric and duodenal ulcers can be prevented with the regular intake of this fruit. The alkaloids maintain the blood pressure level by reducing it. It also has antispasmodic action.

The beta carotene is an excellent antioxidant that is the form of pro- vitamin A and gets converted in to vitamin A in the liver and prevents the free radicals and there by preventing cancers, cardio vascular diseases and high blood pressure. Beta carotene also repairs the body tissues, improves eye health, and reduces arthritis, infertility, depression and Parkinson’s disease. The beta carotene is the non toxic form of vitamin A as the excess formation of vitamin A is toxic. The calcium content promotes the bone and dental health and the support of Beta carotene also gives excellent improvement in the dental health and bone density. The vitamin B 2 and B6, folate and choline improves the brain and mental health, lower cholesterol and increases the blood circulation. The vitamin C blocks the histamine that causes the asthma and it also reduces the infections and repair tissues and heals the wound. The presence of all vital vitamins improves the skin and hair health.The regular intake of this fruit regardless its sour taste gives great health benefits.